From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...There is no truth to the rumor that I'm on a quest to find the world's greatest Hot Cross Bun. It may, however, be true that I'm infirm of purpose when I find a new recipe for them that looks better than my current favorite. I think that's what happened here. I was lured by a gorgeous photo and then roped and tied by the name, Hollywood's Hot Cross Buns. My first thought was California but I quickly learned I was way off base. As it turns out, Paul Hollywood is an English baker and celebrity chef, who best known for being a judge on the BBC One's The Great British Bake Off. Pictures of his Hot Cross Buns are all over the internet and while his buns, which require 3 rises, are more time consuming than most to make, I can tell you they are delicious and worth every second they take to assemble. They are my favorite, at least for this year. I'm not going to repeat the history of the buns tonight, but if you are curious, I included it in my first post about them and you can find that information, here. I hope you will give tonight's recipe a try. The buns have a decidedly fluffy texture and the dried fruit and spices give them a well-developed flavor. The dough is quite damp, so you will want to oil the surface on which you knead it to prevent sticking. Rest assured, if you keep at it, the dough will come together and you will have lovely fragrant buns to serve your family and friends. Here is how the buns are made.
Hot Cross Buns...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Paul Hollywood
1-1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons whole milk
4 tablespoons butter
4-1/2 cups bread or all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 egg , beaten
1/2 cup raisins or currants
2 tablespoons mixed peel
zest 1 orange
1 apple , peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon apple pie spice
2/3 cup all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
3 tablespoons apricot jam
1) Bring milk to a boil, then remove from heat and add butter. Leave to cool until mixture it is tepid. Put flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a bowl. Make a well in center of mixture and pour wet ingredients into well. Add egg and mix well using a wooden spoon. Bring everything together with your hands until you have a sticky dough.
2) Turn on to a lightly floured surface and knead by holding dough with one hand and stretching it with heal of the other hand, then folding it back on itself. Repeat for 5 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Put dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with oiled plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size and a finger pressed into it leaves a dent.
3) With dough still in bowl, dump in sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest, apple and cinnamon. Knead into dough, making sure everything is well distributed. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 1 hour more, or until doubled in size.
4) Divide dough into 15 even pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface. Arrange buns on one or two baking trays lined with parchment, leaving enough space for the dough to expand. Cover loosely with sprayed plastic wrap, then allow them to rise for 1 hour more.
5) Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Mix flour with about 5 tablespoons water to make the paste for cross – add water 1 tablespoon at a time, just until a thick paste forms. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle. Pipe a line along each row of buns, then repeat in other direction to create crosses. Reduce heat to 400 degrees F. Bake for 20 minutes on middle shelf of oven, until golden brown.
6) Gently heat apricot jam to melt, then sieve to get rid of any chunks. While the jam is still warm, brush over the top of warm buns and leave to cool. Yield: 16 buns.
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